Last week, I had a guest post from Katie of Milk and Nectar share about being a birth doula. Now I would like to share about postpartum doulas and what they do. After birth, mothers need to be supported and have time for rest so that they can focus on taking care of their newborn.
How Postpartum Doulas Help New Moms
The transition to motherhood is hard and sometimes lonely. I want to be there to help. I believe that some postpartum depression can be prevented if women had more support and less pressure as new moms.
Postpartum is not easy. New babies are great but this is also the biggest change a woman goes through. Not to mention the pressures and expectations from people around her. Hormones and emotions play a big role during this time.
Support is so important during the postpartum period. The right kind of support is even better. A lot of people want to help new moms but they don’t know how. Meals are always appreciated but new moms need space and privacy. I had plenty of support after the birth of my son but my biggest regret is having my mom and husband there at the same time. I would have received another week of help if my husband would have taken the next week off.
As a postpartum doula, I want to encourage the bond between parents and their baby. If the family has other children, I will help the whole family by offering suggestions for sibling adjustment.
The role of a postpartum doula is to take care of new moms so that they can focus on their new baby. Sometimes this includes encouraging the dad in his new role and giving both parents confidence in caring for the baby. This should be a time of relaxation and bonding not stress.
As a postpartum doula, here are some of the ways I will support the mom: When I arrive, I will make sure she is comfortable in all aspects (breastfeeding, body, boundaries, feels supported emotionally) and I will ask her what she needs most at the time. That could be rest, help with breastfeeding, food, water, a chance to take a shower… etc.
I encourage moms to limit visitors because they can be emotionally exhausting. The most important thing with visitors is that the mom knows her limits and communicates what she needs with others (i.e. privacy so that she can breastfeed). Visitors can be difficult in the beginning because being a new mom can be overwhelming and exhausting.
My presence as a postpartum doula will allow and encourage the mom to stay in bed. I will bring her food and drinks and make sure that she has all of her supplies (nipple salve, diapers, etc) close to her. In the first couple of weeks moms do need fresh air and sunlight but they should not feel obligated to run errands (except appointments). I can go grocery shopping and/ or order food for the mom.
To be honest, after having my son I was not very good at resting but if I would have had a postpartum doula during the day taking care of me, it would have been easier. Rest and spending time in bed may sound boring but if you find things that are relaxing and nourish your soul, rest can be relaxing and beneficial to your ability to care for your new baby.
I want to be available for emotional support and encouragement, answering questions and helping the mom find resources that will help her become the best version of themselves.
The biggest way that postpartum doulas support families is by offering practical household help including laundry, tidying, meal prep and sibling care.
Postpartum doulas help make the transition to motherhood easier. After meeting immediate needs, I will ask how I can help smooth out the next couple of days or couple of weeks. Sometimes postpartum doulas only come once for a few hours and sometimes they come repeatedly. The role of a postpartum doula is to meet the needs of the families she is working with and that looks different for everybody.
We help parents come up with solutions to any problems they may be having. I can help moms with babywearing and breastfeeding. I do have some experience with elimination communication so if a family is interested in EC, I would love to support them.
A lot of the information in this post is inspired by Bear Mama Medicine’s guide for a healing postpartum.